Hambleton parish population estimate:
2000 - 370
The village of Crayke (formerly Craike) derives its name from the Celtic word crec, meaning crag. It is built on a hill in the Vale of York, two miles east of Easingwold and on an ancient Celtic trackway from Scotland to the Humber, via Yarm-on-Tees and the Hambleton Hills. It has panoramic views westward to the Pennine Hills, south over the Vale of York, and east to the Yorkshire Wolds.
It is a village steeped in history from the Bronze Age, through the Roman occupation, the Anglo-Saxon, Danish and Viking ages to the Normans. It was closely linked to Durham from the time of St Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne, for in AD 685 the village of Creca was given to him by King Ecgfrith and inherited by succeeding bishops of Durham. The village remained a part of Durham county, and it was not until 1844 that it was finally united to the North Riding of Yorkshire for all purposes.
There has been a castle on top of the hill since the 13th century. The present castle was the Great Chamber of a previous castle which is now in ruins. William Ralph Inge was born in Crayke Cottage in 1860. He was curate at Crayke for a time and later became Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in London.
The village is designated as a conservation area, especially the churchyard, which has 24 varieties of wild flowers, some of which are very rare species.
Crayke has been a farming community from early times, and many of the outlying farms were established in the 15th century. In the early 20th century there were 34 working farms. It was once a totally self-reliant village which in 1893 boasted 6 shopkeepers and 23 persons in different trades. Today, sadly, we have no village shop, although the Post Office has been retained, open on three mornings a week, and there are only 5 persons in trades. In 1930 there was a total of 118 dwellings, including 34 farms. Many new houses have been built since then, increasing the number of dwellings to 162, with 14 farms now.
There have been many changes recently. A newly-built sports pavilion and the enlarging of the playing field make it one of the finest playing fields in the area. Churton Hall, the former village hall, has closed, and its facilities have been transferred to the sports pavilion. During the laying of a pipeline by BP, the foundations of an ancient building, believed to be of Roman occupation, were uncovered, which confirms the early settlement of the site.
To celebrate the Millennium, a foot trail has been made around the village, with mosaic markers, all made by members of the local community, which portray different aspects of the surrounding countryside. A new flag-pole stands proudly on the church tower, with the flag flying regularly. The Durham Ox inn has had a new makeover, with ample parking at the rear and easy access for wheel-chairs. The primary school is thriving and getting good results academically.
But the Reliance bus between Crayke and Helmsley has been withdrawn owing to lack of passengers, and the Women's Institute has had to close, reluctantly, through lack of members. As the numbers of older members dwindle, no new ones are coming forward to replace them.
H A Norman
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CRAYKE, (and CRAYKE CASTLE) a parish in the Bishopric of Durham, though locally situated in the wapentake of Bulmer; 2 miles E. of Easingwold. Crayke, with the land three miles round it, was given by Egfrid, King of Northumberland, to St. Cuthbert, in the year 685, by whom it came to the church of Durham; about which time the said St. Cuthbert founded a monastery here.
This village is delightfully situated on the southern declivity of a lofty detached hill or mount, on the summit of which stands the ruins of Crayke Castle, which is supposed to have been a Roman fortress, and which in thetime of the Saxons was a royal palace. From hence is a most extensive and delightful prospect of the forest of Galtres, and the beautiful and picturesque vale of Mowbray; so called from its ancient owner Roger de Mowbray, who was bowman to William Rufus, and possessed one hundred and forty manors in England and twenty in Normandy. He was the founder of the monasteries of Newburgh and Byland.
Near the ruins of the castle (which is now occupied as a farm house) stands the church, a handsome antique edifice inclosed within lofty trees, and which is dedicated to St. Cuthbert. The living is a rectory, in the patronage of the Bishop of Durham. In addition to the parish church, here is a Catholic chapel, of which the Rev. Thomas Coupe is minister; likewise a Methodist chapel. The freeholders in this place vote for knights for the county of Durham; pleas of land are held in the county of Durham, and the jurisdiction of the palatine extends thereto; but in the militia service the legislature thought it expedient to embody the inhabitants with the men of Yorkshire.